Well last night, I was close to tears, I’d written my blog. I had edited, resized and uploaded my photos, I saved the draft file and then all of a sudden the internet connection dropped and I lost the lot, I have no idea what happened but I was gutted! Especially as we’d had such a fantastic day and I wanted to share our experience.
I had woken early and gone for a quiet walk with my camera. I had plans, we would spend the day pottering in and around the van. The sun was shining and I had visions of us having a leisurely lunch sipping the Rose wine that was chilling in the fridge. The hubster had other ideas! When I returned from my walk he suggested we go out in Harry! Well I’ve been waiting for this for such a long time and yet suddenly when faced with the prospect of actually getting out there, in the wild, so to speak – I became slightly more reticent!
I decided the only way to face my fear was to chuck myself in at the deep end and as we would have to empty the waste water from Harry, I opted to drive her from our pitch over to the Motorhome Service Point on the other side of the campsite. Ok not exactly on open roads but it is winding, and it does have a load of trees and corners to tackle. I jumped into the driver’s seat, problem number 1, my feet don’t reach the pedals!! Whoops, we shall have to look into that but I managed by perching on the edge of the seat and drove around to the MSP, I positioned Harry just over the grill, and we released all the dishwashing and shower water down the drain. I’d done it! I was chuffed to bits. I must admit it’s a little tricky changing gear with your right hand when all your life you’ve used your left but it was OK, I was amazed at how wide Harry was, and using just side mirrors is going to take some getting used to. It’s a bit like driving a bus!!
So the hubster took over and we left the safety of the camping site, he did a fantastic job. I checked that no drawers shot open, all windows were firmly closed and Charlie in his wisdom pretended to be asleep, he could no doubt feel the anticipation in the air. I did catch him sneaking a peek but he correctly decided this was not the time to be needy and promptly put his head down again and closed his eyes. We ran straight into the traffic, queues of it, which actually worked in our favour as there was no speed, it gave the hubster time to work out how wide Harry was and where to position her on the road. We went down the slip road and on to the M25, great choice for a first outing don’t you think? Well, my heart was in my mouth, the cars and lorries whizzed by and from my position on the passenger seat, I could see in the massive wing mirrors that Harry was beautifully positioned in the slow lane.
Our no smoking in the van rule was abolished pdq, we were both puffing away, it calms the nerves you know! We headed to the local supermarket where the hubster parked beautifully – so good in fact he received a thumbs up from a lorry driver parked a couple of bays away!
After leaving Charlie in the van, and setting the new alarm, we went and bought a couple of provisions. We then decided Harry looked decidedly thirsty, time to buy the girl a drink! We quenched her thirst for diesel at a princely sum of £85!! Greedy glutton:)
Then the hubster dropped the bombshell, “I think we should go back to the campsite on the back roads!” he says calmly. “Back roads?” I heard myself scream, I know those back roads, built up suburbia, cars parked on both sides of narrow roads, traffic calming islands, low bridge, mini roundabouts, you name it – it has it!! I didn’t want to transfer my hesitation on him, so I said nothing, I stayed schtoom! I took a deep breath (several in fact) and tried to be as calm as I possibly could, “Don’t natter, don’t nag and above all, don’t give advice” I told myself!
Oh my, what a trip, it was not the most pleasant journey I’ve ever been on, and to be totally honest if not a little crude, I was cacking it!! Firstly, as I’m sat on the right hand side I am closest to the oncoming traffic, you know big (and I mean big) lorries, buses, etc. and secondly, do you have any idea how small a family saloon looks when your sat up there behind this massive panoramic window? Oh my goodness my mouth was so dry, my tongue was firmly stuck to the roof of my mouth. There is an expression that I’ve used so many times (glibly it turns out) but believe me “sitting on the edge of my seat” summed my journey back perfectly. Low bridge, what low bridge? “So what height is the van?” he asks, I don’t know but let’s just hope and pray it’s shorter than 9 foot 9 inches, she is!! The traffic calming narrowing of the roads with bollards in the middle really did nothing for my nerves, and I’m afraid I did say probably on more than one occasion, (I thought calmly although I was probably screeching) “you can go closer to the pavement on your side if you like!!!” as I saw a huge lorry laden with bricks coming straight at us!
Needless to say we arrived back at the campsite alive and well, the hubster was calm I was somewhat shaky!! Sipping Rose wine, gulping it, more like!! I don’t think I even tasted the first glass 😀
However, it was a wonderful experience and as I said afterwards;
motorway = check
supermarket = check
petrol station = check
Europe = We’re coming, ready or not!!
All I can say is I have a new found respect for HGV drivers!!
On another note, last night the campsite changed beyond all recognition, in the beautiful field behind us we had visitors. 80 Dutch teenagers descended upon us!! Very excited, very polite and when I think there are 80 of them extremely well behaved! We had such fun watching them putting up their tents. To boot, Holland were playing last night and won 2-0 so there were a couple of cheers that rang out every now and then. They didn’t stop us from sleeping though, so no worries. They have gone out on coaches today and the view from my window is like a deserted Glastonbury!! I’m sure they’ll be back any moment and the calm will be broken. I think I can allow them that, after all I’ve had so much calm recently, it’s been good for me to realise what the real world is like!!
By the way, what do you think of my cracking new shoes, red pumps!! Cool I think and just £10 from the supermarket … brilliant!